But from time to time things happen that should be shared even without pictures. An this is one of them:
11.3. LH 534 FRA-CCS
Scheduled departure time: 09:55, arrival CCS 15:10h. Boarding 09:10.
Gate B 42
So far everything started good. The flight was on the screen, no delay. The aircraft D-AIGC on the gate was being prepared for the flight :
Photo © Alex Peter
After leaving to a restroom at about 09:00 I came back an the flight had disappeared on the screen at the gate. Coming from Venezuela I just assumed a technical failure. But only minutes later an announcement was made that there was a delay and an aircraft and a gate change.
New departure time about: 11:00h
About 200 pax made their way to the new gate B60.
Boarding started at 11:30h and the first passengers got scared because of their connecting flights at CCS.
At about 12:10h boarding by but to D-AIGB was finished and the aircraft was pushed back from a position at Terminal 2:
Photo © Andreas Stoeckl
An this is the start of the adventure !
After pushback the aircraft moved some meters and an announcement was made:
"We seem to have a problem with the breaks and have to return to the position. We will try to fix the problem as soon as possible."
Only 10 minutes later: "We have fixed it". The aircraft was pushed back.
We taxied towards the "Startbahn West". Shortly before arriving there, we stopped at a parking position and the pilot announced: "We have the same problem again. Sorry for the inconvenience. We need to analyze some data now and will try to fix as soon as possible."
Time: 12:30h. Most passengers had now lost their connections. Some drinks were served.
13:50h the pilot: "We have finally fixed the problem and will now start. We will try to make up as much time as possible. If your connection in CCS is lost, the staff at CCS will take care of rebooking you.
Take off at about 14:10h.
I fell asleep and was woken up by a pilots announcement.....guess what !?!
"I a very sorry, but the problem has come up again. We are not able to continue our flight to CCS. We are awaiting ATC to assign a an area to dump fuel and will then return to FRA". Nice.
After checking the airshow I realized that we were in the air for about 25 minutes and close to ZRH.
After explaining the passengers the very funny and spectacular show of dumping more that 100.000 Euro, we could see this "spectacle" from the windows. I took a picture from my mobile but have problems in transfering it to the PC.
Fuel was dumped over the black forest ("Schwarzwald").
During the descend the pilot explained that the landing was a normal landing because there is a total of three breaking systems.
Nevertheless, I was surprised about the number of fire trucks and ambulances standing besides the runway with their flashlights on when we landed (normally).
Time: 16:45 h.
At this moment, I would like to remind you, that all the service we had in coach/economy was a drink while waiting on the ground. No lunch, no further drinks. We were starving !
LH took us to a very remote Gate B 58. I guess just in case the passengers start to make some trouble.
Just as a crowd of cattle they put some boxes with sandwiches and soft drinks on the ground and everybody has to serve himself. Seating was not enough so people even had to stand.
No information about the connecting flights were given. No chance/money to make phonecalls/WiFi connection - nothing. Just hijacked in a small gate.
The display showed a departure " 18:00 to Frankfurt". Passengers started kidding, saying that they expect to return again to FRA.
During this waiting period it turned out that the aircraft change from D-AIGC to D-AIGB was due to engine problems.
At 18:00h we started boarding. But: As the aircraft had a slightly different configuration, we all lost our seating. The LH-system "invented" a new seating an I lost my window seat against a center seat in the center row .
This was aircraft No. 3 for this day. D-AIGY
Photo © Matt Barnette - IAH Spotters
After a 10-hour flight, we arrived at CCS at around 22:45 local, about 8 hours delayed.
As expected, the big shouting and screaming began a the LH transfer counter. Passengers with LH tickets to other destinations e.g. UIO, BOG, LIM, PTY received a hotel and flights were rebooked.
Passengers with separate tickets on domestic connections e.g. PMV, MAR, VIG etc. received: NOTHING. Just according to the regulations.
I was lucky having friends in CCS so I could overnight there. And I was even more lucky to get a new reservation to PMV for the next day during Easter high season.
Surprisingly LH paid me the taxi to the city !
Some passengers in connection to other destinations are still stuck in CCS until Saturday !
Now a final question: LH denies a compensation due to the fact that the delay was caused by technical reasons: EU regulations state a full refund if the delay is more than 6 hours. What is correct ?
Do you think there is the chance to get a compensation ?
And I need to stress the bad treatment by LH. This was the most disappointing ting of all. A technical problem - OK. But treating the coach passengers just as sh** is inacceptable.
At the first gate application forms for Miles & More were distributed. Some passengers destroyed the application inflight.
It is impossible to put the passengers in such a small waiting room with foodboxes on the ground. It is impossible to let the eco/coach passengers board through the rear door during heavy rain through an "open" stair while the front stair (with roof) was not used in order not to disturb the Business passengers.
And: I would have expected some more help/cooperation for the stranded passengers with such a delay. After dumping this big amount of fuel, the costs to satisfy the stranded passengers would have been minimal.